Helen and I have always said that we brought the restaurant instead of getting married and I think that most of our friends and family had given up on the idea of there ever being a wedding, which is really what lead us to the idea of making it even more of a surprise and keeping the whole thing a secret!
Neither of us wanted a typical wedding, we wanted a day that would celebrate us as a couple and also a day which would celebrate our friendships and families. From the moment we saw Temple Guiting Manor, we knew it was the venue which we had dreamed of; the beautiful presentation, perfect size and somewhere which we could do the catering ourselves.
In order to get our guests to our wedding and appropriately dressed, we invited our closest friends and family to a fictitious outside catering event for the restaurant for which we required some willing volunteers, to our surprise everybody was very enthusiastic and willing to play along. We did let our parents in on the secret in the fear of never being forgiven otherwise and there are just somethings which are so special, like choosing a wedding dress (apparently!) which you can’t do without your mum or in Helen’s case both mums! My mum even took a flower arranging class so that she could make Helen’s bouquet herself.
On the morning of the Wedding, there was no early hairdressers appointments, trip to the pub with the groomsmen or even trying to avoid seeing the bride – we woke up together as we always have done. There was, however, a military operation in moving and setting up all of our props, food, drinks and catering equipment from the restaurant in Cheltenham over to The Manor House, with the help of my parents, Lauren from Lady Amy Wedding Designs and our small team of Staff it ran like clockwork.
All of our guest began to arrive and were shown to their rooms to get ready, with a little afternoon tea box and a request to be dressed and ready for 4.50pm. At just before 5pm our staff ushered our guests over to the beautiful The Peacock Barn Garden without any explanation as to what would happen next. I mingled with the guests, and tried to avoid any awkward questions, as music gently played in the background and as Helen made my way down the path on the arm of her father. Bruno Mars song ‘Marry You’ began to play and she made her entrance into the garden, to screams and tears from our guests as the penny dropped as to what was really happening. We said our vows under the eves of the Peacock Barn with our friends and family gathered around in the garden.
After the ceremony, the party moved to the Terrace garden to be greeted with a Champagne and canape reception. A salamanzar of Pol Roger and a tower of Champagne coupes was a sight to behold, the guests glasses where then kept topped up using Vintage Teapots. Instead of a guest book we had a photograph taken on our engagement shoot, the all of our guests wrote a little message on the mount, which we now have framed and on the wall in our lounge.
As the sun lowered, the music stopped on the Terrace and more music began in The Long Garden, all of the guests were led through to be met with a elaborate garden buffet full of surprises. There was mini stone baked pizza being made to order, BBQ’d skewers, Helen’s mirrored glass dressing table which housed our salad bar, a kitchen table full of my favourite nibbles and instead of a bar we created ‘The Lab’ as a homage to Helen’s former life as a Biomedical Scientist where our guests could create their own cocktails. We disappeared with Adam to have our photographs taken by the lake, the light was fantastic and Adam was just wonderful, neither Jon or I are very photogenic but he made us feel so comfortable in front of the camera and it was lovely to just catch a couple of minutes together. As we walked back into The Long Garden the local church bell ringers began to practice much to our delight.
Just as our guests began to think that they had had all of their surprises for the day, the sun set and it was time to really get the party started. The lights came up and music began at The Barn. As our guests made their way down a candle lit path upto the Barn they discovered Charlie with his liquid nitrogen Ice Cream parlour, a Cheese board picnic, chocolate fountain, glow in the dark cocktails and the fabulous DUKE. Our guests were transformed into children with the wonder of the liquid nitrogen ice cream and then practically stunned into silence when DUKE demonstrated how amazing their beatbox skills really are, to see them perform up close really was an experience not to forget.
And for those of you who have been asking to see the pictures from our wedding… here they are! They were taken the most wonderful photographer Adam Drake.